Every book has a genre. But within in that genre, what is your book’s brand?
What integral parts of your book make it truly different from others out there? Let’s use Charlene Harris’s vampire series (and by extension, True Blood on HBO) as an example. In the wake of Twilight, everyone and their uncle began writing YA/adult vampire romances. Charlene Harris decided to also roll in social commentary with hers, addressing social issues with sexuality and religion. Many members of the True Blood cast (the HBO series based on the books) partook in “It Gets Better” videos to address bullying, another extremely popular topic in the media today. These positive-message videos were appropriate with the original brand of the books and movies.
Below are four tips to developing your book’s brand and capitalizing on it!
1) Consider your book’s theme song.
Whatever your book’s theme song (and you may have multiple), it will help you pinpoint the differentiating themes of your book’s brand. Let’s find some examples in looking at some of the Top 40 of yesteryear (specifically, 1999). Cher came out with “Believe,” which was yet another comeback for the veteran singer, a dance-pop single dealt with themes of strength and survival in romance. Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” was also leading in the charts, and it dissected sexual politics for both genders. Sounds like fertile ground for book branding, no?
2) Be consistent.
Once you’ve identified the key components of your brand, don’t contradict it in any messaging. Contradicting your brand will be detrimental to the work you’ve done to develop it. It will make your audience wary of you and what your book provides, or it may make them misunderstand how your product fits them (yes, your book is a product). Authors are not exempt from this long-standing rule, especially authors who are using a book to help sell another product or service.
3) Don’t market to different audiences separately.
Your book might have different audiences. For example, you might have a book for women entrepreneurs, but your audience might encompass the college-age woman who plans on building herself as a freelancer while she looks for new work as well as the forty-something woman starting a new venture after a career. Just because you have these two types of readers in your audience doesn’t mean you should have separate Facebook pages for each of these markets, because you’re losing out on the ease of connecting. If readers have to work too hard to figure out how to connect with you, they just won’t do it.
4) Your brand is YOU!
We’re in a world where consumers don’t trust what isn’t genuine, and business is capitalizing on emotion! It’s hard to build a brand if it isn’t authentic to who you are, and your audience won’t trust it if it’s not (they can tell). You and your book should share what you love. Is it as simple as loving the world of YA fiction? Consider creating a blog to be a resource of reviews for YA books. Do you love the world of knitting? Create a special #hashtag on Twitter to share your latest knitting pattern discoveries. Whatever it is, be true to yourself in your book and your book’s marketing.